Apple Watch and Jury Duty

Neutral Milk

macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 28, 2015
130
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I had jury duty last week. When you are picked to go to a jury selection they are very insistent you turn off all electronic devices (not just silent or airplane mode). When I went into the courtroom I turned off my phone as requested, and thought about putting my watch on power save. I decided against it because I'm obsessed with my rings. As I was sitting in the courtroom I started getting texts and emails. I hadn't experienced the wifi capabilities (I knew about them but didn't realize how well they worked). It was unobtrusive. I was able to see and dismiss without losing focus. Didn't even consider responding.

Not sure if this is what people should do. Maybe turning off is best for the process. But none of the dozens of police took any mind of my quick glances.

Just another interesting (and mind numbingly boring) experience with the watch.
 
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Crazy Badger

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Apr 1, 2008
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Which bit of this "When you are picked to go to a jury selection they are very insistent you turn off all electronic devices (not just silent or airplane mode)" did you not understand?

You're probably fortunate it wasn't noticed and you didn't find yourself in contempt of court!
 

Arran

macrumors 601
Mar 7, 2008
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Atlanta, USA
But none of the dozens of police took any mind of my quick glances.
They probably thought you were just checking the time. I'll bet none of them have seen an Apple watch before.

Lucky you weren't hauled over the coals for contempt of court. What you did was pretty bad.
 

Night Spring

macrumors G5
Jul 17, 2008
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They probably thought you were just checking the time. I'll bet none of them have seen an Apple watch before.

Lucky you weren't hauled over the coals for contempt of court. What you did was pretty bad.

Would it be ok if the OP put their watch in Do Not Distrub mode, so they don't get notifications, but the watch will still track their activity?
 

Arran

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Would it be ok if the OP put their watch in Do Not Distrub mode, so they don't get notifications, but the watch will still track their activity?
I wouldn't risk it. If you've been directed by the court to turn OFF all electronic devices then it really means OFF.

Imagine the cost of a retrial if, days in, one of the lawyers lodges an objection? Court time, lawyers fees, etc are huge.

Cost considerations aside, you're not giving the trial your full attention. You can argue that point with the judge if you want - and likely find yourself in a cell.
 
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ivandr

macrumors regular
Jul 1, 2010
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Would it be ok if the OP put their watch in Do Not Distrub mode, so they don't get notifications, but the watch will still track their activity?
I think its hard to determine what is ok and not ok (in a court room that decision remains entirely up to the presiding judge), however I would think that this is an ok way to do it.

Another option (which I discovered during a weekend camping w/o cell coverage) would be to put it in airplane mode. I did that (to save battery as my phone wasn't on me when camping) yet I still had all of my activity rings filled throughout the weekend.

The second option would mean that you still get the watch nudges about standing, activity summaries etc, but I would argue that its closer to following the judge's orders than just DND mode. The order to turn off all devices is to ensure that the jury isn't getting information that would influence them from outside the courtroom, and simply DND mode means you're still pulling in information from the outside world. (What if a news alert email blast has to do with the trial a person is sitting jury on etc... yes almost all jury duties are boring and mundane but this rule would be particularly important in more high profile trials
 

Night Spring

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Jul 17, 2008
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The order to turn off all devices is to ensure that the jury isn't getting information that would influence them from outside the courtroom, and simply DND mode means you're still pulling in information from the outside world. (What if a news alert email blast has to do with the trial a person is sitting jury on etc... yes almost all jury duties are boring and mundane but this rule would be particularly important in more high profile trials
Yes, I agree the point is to shut out outside information. But I believe if your watch is in DND mode, you won't get any news alerts, because DND will block them. Maybe to be doubly sure, one could turn on BOTH DND and Airplane modes.
 

Arran

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Mar 7, 2008
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Yes, I agree the point is to shut out outside information. But I believe if your watch is in DND mode, you won't get any news alerts, because DND will block them. Maybe to be doubly sure, one could turn on BOTH DND and Airplane modes.
The point is to stay focused on the trial.

As this guy found out: http://www.wired.com/2013/04/texting-juror-jailed/

The judge declared him in contempt, and ordered the juror jailed for two days at Marion County Jail. The judge said he wanted to teach Kohler a lesson.
 
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Night Spring

macrumors G5
Jul 17, 2008
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Any WiFi? I thought it had to be a friendly WiFi
The Watch doesn't have dedicated wifi. The iPhone can be out of Bluetooth range but must be connected to wifi, requiring it to be powered on.
The way I understand it, if your phone and watch connects to a wifi hotspot once, then the next time, the watch can connect to that hotspot, even if you don't have the phone with you. Once the watch connects to wifi, then it gets notifications for email and text even without the phone.
 
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Arran

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How is the watch going to distract you if all it's doing is showing the time and keeping track of your activity (for which you don't need to look at the watch)?
It may not distract you at all, but don't argue that with me. Argue it with the judge. He's the one you'll need to convince. But if you've been directed to turn devices OFF and you ignored it, I'm not sure you'll get a sympathetic ear. Do you feel lucky?

Might be a good idea to keep your personal lawyer on speed-dial.
 

Night Spring

macrumors G5
Jul 17, 2008
13,086
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Don't argue with me. Argue with the judge. He's the one you'll need to convince. But if you've been directed to turn devices OFF and you ignored it, I'm not sure you'll get a sympathetic ear. Do you feel lucky?

Might be a good idea to keep your personal lawyer on speed-dial.
I'm not the op -- I don't have jury duty.

And yes, probably not a good idea to argue with the judge, but going to be interesting how smart watches are dealt with in court going forward. Some people are going to be using the watch for tracking serious health conditions, like diabetes, and they will need to keep the watch turned on.
 

Arran

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Mar 7, 2008
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... Some people are going to be using the watch for tracking serious health conditions, like diabetes, and they will need to keep the watch turned on.
Agreed. Once the devices become mainstream an acceptable protocol will need to be worked out. On the way, mistakes will be made and lessons will be learned on all sides.

But right now, I wouldn't risk it with a cranky and/or uninformed judge.
 

Newtons Apple

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Mar 12, 2014
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The way I understand it, if your phone and watch connects to a wifi hotspot once, then the next time, the watch can connect to that hotspot, even if you don't have the phone with you. Once the watch connects to wifi, then it gets notifications for email and text even without the phone.
OK but when you say connect, you would have to give it permission to connect to that particular WiFi, would you not? I have my phone set up to only connect to with my permission.

This is an interesting bit of information.
 

Mac2me

macrumors 6502a
Jun 10, 2015
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Interesting thread but have to agree that the literal cost of a trial and fairness to those arguing their side dictates here and should have been turned off of receiving any notications or such. Suppose placing it on Reserve where the watch is on just for the time (think this is true) would be the way to go. When you go to break you can get updated.

So it's not like Apple Watch is the first smart watch. I'm sure this has been discussed before. The watch is an electronic device.
 
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Crazy Badger

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Apr 1, 2008
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I don't even think there will be a debate about smart watches as it's pretty much covered already - ALL ELECTRONIC DEVICES MUST BE SWITCHED OFF. Pretty clear to even the intellectually challenged ;)

The argument about needing the watch for tracking serious health conditions won't hold much ground, given people have managed without them since the dawn of time. I guess if you had an electronic device that needed to be left on for health grounds today (e.g. a pacemaker) then you'd have authority from your Dr and probably be excused.
 

xyion1

macrumors regular
Oct 26, 2007
138
40
Being able to communicate mid-trial, especially with/as a juror is a big no-no. Could be seen as jury tampering or sending the jury's thoughts out to either counsel. Especially during deliberations! Personally, I wouldn't risk it, especially for something like keeping activity rings filled (not really a life or death issue...)
 
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